#ThankYouMLP

Today, twitter informs me, marks five years of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a reboot of Hasbro’s popular line of brightly coloured pony toys for little girls. As a result, people are listing off the reasons they have to be happy for getting into the show, regardless of the demographic it was originally aimed for, under the hashtag, #ThankYouMLP.

On reflection, my list is a little too long to be chopped up into 140 characters. So blog. I buck the trends, baby.

I wasn’t there at the start. A friend of mine got wildly into them, and was involved in starting up a UK-based convention. He asked me to Steward, having worked alongside me on other events, but it fell on my birthday and I’d never watched the show.

The following year, however, I was in a pretty dire place. I was about to become homeless, I was desperately depressed, and I wanted to remind myself I could do something to try and kick the slump I was in. So I messaged my friend, aware another event was coming up but not fully aware of what I was getting myself into, “hey, need a steward?”

“No,” he replied, “I need a crew officer”.

Following an interview on Skype with the companies vice-chairman, who treated me to a long rant on why Rainbow Dash was best pony because loyality (oh Mav), I was fully launched into this slightly insane scheme to kick my depression in the ass. Now, I said to myself, I need to watch this show…

While, on principle, I like saccharine pink, the intro made me cringe, but at this point I was too deep in to back down because of that. The first episode captured me on plot alone, but it was the first of a two-part episode so I had to watch the next, right?

Three seasons went by in a flash. My flatmate wandered in at some point, and I excitedly showed her the first two episodes. She asked me if I was high when I started watching it, then walked out.

Then came my first convention, smack-bang in the middle of my spell living in a hostel. There were fully-grown men wearing plushies on their heads, fantastic elaborate costumes, stands were people sold amazing My Little Pony themed crafts, so much music, and a welcoming group of staff who quickly felt like family.

For a weekend, it truly didn’t matter that I was living out a hostel. I was transported to a magical place where everything was brightly coloured. At the end of the event, so many people came up to me and thanked me for working for the event that my head swam.

I worked for a convention in Finland, and met my partner out there. We sang “Let it Go!” so many times and never got tired of it, and I noticed that everyone smiled when they saw me.

I was promoted to the Board for BUCK, and helped organise the 2014 convention in Manchester Central. Towards the end of the convention I had a small red-and-orange heart thrown at me by an attendee.

I formed a group of friends to go travelling with, they came to Finland with me, and I went to Bath and to Leeds and to Berlin to see them.

I met so many people, so many friends, so many loved ones, I couldn’t name them all.

I met people, musicians and artists and crafters alike, who inspire me on a near-daily basis to be a better artist.

I think when you’re in love, truly, really and devotedly in love, they inspire you to be a better person, for them. And that’s what the brony fandom does for me. I want to turn up to the next convention a better version of myself. I want the next convention to be a heartfelt labour of love so when the attendees turn up, there is a convention full of love and happiness and fun waiting for them.

Thank you, MLP.

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#ThankYouMLP